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US scholar says China-US meeting was forward-looking
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The first meeting between Chinese President Hu Jintao and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama in London was a wide-ranging session that bodes well for the future, a leading American scholar on China-U.S. relations said Wednesday.

"The two sides agreed to cooperate in a set of areas and they characterized U.S.-China relationship as positive, cooperative and comprehensive going forward. So I would overall say that it appears to be a big meeting." said Kenneth Lieberthal, a political science professor at the University of Michigan.

The first face-to-face meeting between Hu and Obama was wide-ranging, basically forward-looking, Lieberthal, also a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, a leading think tank based in Washington, D.C., told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

Hu and Obama met on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in London.

Lieberthal noted that the two leaders covered a broad range of issues in a relatively brief meeting, including energy security, military-to-military relations, domestic economic policies and approaches to restructuring the global financial system and dealing with the economic crisis.

The scholar said the establishment of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue mechanism and the announcement of an Obama visit to China later this year were also among the major achievements of the meeting.

Substantial attention to clean energy and climate change also received a separate paragraph in a statement issued by the White House, the scholar added.

Lieberthal said the meeting was of great significance for the future of the U.S.-China bilateral relationship and the world in three aspects.

He said that the meeting, in the first place, started a relationship whose quality, mutual trust and dynamism will have an impact on both countries and more broadly.

"Both men should be in office for nearly four years to come. And so their capacity to work effectively with each other and to guide their governments to work effectively with each other is an issue of great significance." he said.

The professor said he also thought that the meeting laid out an ambitious set of issues for future cooperation between the two countries.

"I think that will set off a revolution in U.S.-China relations toward having a relationship play a more significant role in addressing global issues and having global issues play a more significant role in shaping the U.S.-China relationship. So I think this meeting was quite forward-looking," the scholar said.

Lieberthal served as a special assistant to the U.S. president for national security affairs and was a senior director for Asia on the National Security Council from August 1998 to October 2000 during the Clinton administration.

(Xinhua News Agency April 2, 2009)

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